At first listen, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based singer/songwriter Jill Barber sounds like merely the latest in a lineage that stretches back at least as far as her fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell. Her debut album For All Time is a familiar blend of folk, country, soft rock, and occasional torchy jazz influences, along with one oddball ringer, the Melanie-style Tin Pan Alley throwback (complete with tootling clarinet!) "When I'm Makin' Love to You." That playful tune is an early indication that Barber isn't interested in being just the next Norah Jones, and closer listens reveal a stronger talent…
An imaginative mixture of the popular and the unusual. Barber’s only quartet has at its heart the famous Adagio for Strings: the latter is an arrangement of the second of the quartet’s two movements. That Adagio – which here benefits not only from the unfamiliarity of the chamber original but also from the Duke’s sensitively understated approach on their first recording for Collins Classics – is here surrounded by some captivating faster music (including a brief return to the opening Molto allegro’s ideas). And Robert Maycock’s excellent booklet notes hint at what those famous seven minutes of slow, sad passion in particular could really be said to be about: young homosexual love in the Austrian woods. Thirty years later, in 1966, another American in Europe, and still in his twenties, wrote his first string quartet, though it’s unlikely to be a direct reflection of love, this time in Paris.
In the 20th century, the great American composers – simmering in the mighty melting pot – evoked Hollywood glamour, folksy landscapes, irresistible swing, poignant nostalgia, showbiz pzazz, sweet sentiment, streetwise sophistication, and hypnotic minimalistic drive. This 6-CD box – featuring such citizens of the world as Simon Rattle, André Previn, The Labèque Sisters, Renaud Capuçon, Hélène Grimaud and Paavo Järvi – take us on an exhilarating journey across the musical horizons of the USA.
Musicality and variety is awesome! I gave this only 3 stars because the first 5 songs are the only new ones. All remaining songs are on his recording "The Heart of Christmas" – which I also have. They're not even new versions of the (same) songs – sound identical to the other recording. It's very frustrating to buy a recording and think you're getting all new songs, only to learn that they filled it with songs already released. If you like Matthew West and don't have any of his Christmas music, I highly recommend this. If you already have some, just be cautious that you're not buying what you already have..